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Rabbitohs v Dragons: Walker back for Souths; Graham forgoes trials

Mudgee again plays host to the Rabbitohs and Dragons on Saturday night with a sell-out crowd expected for the annual Charity Shield clash.

The Rabbitohs took the spoils 36-24 to retain the shield in the fixture last year with a 36-24 victory to secure their fifth consecutive triumph over the Dragons in the pre-season match. 

St George Illawarra are coming off a strong 38-12 victory over Newcastle in their first trial of 2020 and will look to continue building on their combinations leading into round one.

South Sydney fielded mainly a reserve grade squad in their first hit-out against the Eels last week but still managed to grind out a 28-24 win. 

The Rundown

Team news

Rabbitohs: 1. Latrell Mitchell, 2. Dane Gagai, 3. James Roberts, 4. Braidon Burns, 5. Campbell Graham, 6. Cody Walker, 7. Adam Reynolds (c), 8. Junior Tatola, 9. Damien Cook, 10. Thomas Burgess, 11. Jaydn Su'A, 12. Cameron Murray, 13. Liam Knight. Interchange: 14. Patrick Mago,15. Hame Sele, 16. Alex Johnston, 17. Keaon Koloamatangi, 18. Bryson Goodwin, 19. Corey Allan, 20. Bayley Sironen, 21. Troy Dargan, 22. Blake Taaffe, 23. Jack Johns, 24. Tom Amone

Cody Walker, Liam Knight and Troy Dargan will play after nursing injuries over the pre-season. Ethan Lowe (knee) and Mark Nicholls (shoulder) aren't available. Reigning Dally M Lock of the Year Cameron Murray has been switched to second-row, while Latrell Mitchell will don a Rabbitohs jumper for the first time.

Dragons: Euan Aitken, Eddie Blacker, Billy Brittain, Adam Clune, Jackson Ford, Tyson Frizell, Tyrell Fuimaono, Jacob Host, Ben Hunt, Tim Lafai, Blake Lawrie, Zac Lomax, Issac Luke, Trent Merrin, Corey Norman, Jordan Pereira, Mikaele Ravalawa, Jason Saab, Tristan Sailor, Tariq Sims, Paul Vaughan, Brayden Wiliame

James Graham will head into the season without any trial hitouts, with the veteran prop being rested again. Trent Merrin (back) missed last week's game but is set to pull on the Red V for the first time since 2015. Issac Luke and Tyrell Fuimaono are also backing up after featuring in the All Stars clash. Josh Kerr is sidelined with a knee injury.

The big question

Rabbitohs: Can Latrell Mitchell slot into the fullback spot in his first club game? The new recruit was limited in last week's All Stars clash in the No.1 jersey before shifting to the centres in the second half. With only 80 minutes left before round one, Rabbitohs coach Wayne Bennett will get a good look at Mitchell's potential and impact at in the custodian role when he takes the field.

Dragons: What sort of impact can Luke make? The loss of Cameron McInnes for at least the opening month of the 2020 season leaves the former Warrior as the main man at hooker. Luke was restricted to 28 minutes playing for the Maori All Stars but should get at least double that when he runs out in the Red V on Saturday.